One of the major issues with how Eric Garner lost his life is the fact that he was stopped and brought down by multiple cops over something as trivial as loose cigarettes (which they allege that he was selling). According to Garner’s own words before he was fatally choked by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, he felt that the cops, or perhaps the particular cop he was venting to, harassed him often in his neighborhood when he felt that he wasn’t doing anything at all:
“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it….I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone.”
Because of New York’s broken windows policy of policing (the idea of keeping “urban environments in a well-ordered condition” by trying to go after people for small crimes in order to keep larger ones from happening), that’s why we saw four men take down one man over something so small. Officer Pantaleo would go on to claim that he needed to use the chokehold in order to take Garner down and arrest him. Again, not because Garner had a weapon, was harming someone, harming police or destroying property–but because of some loosies, folks.
These type of aggressive interactions with law enforcement aren’t new for black people, but for white folks? There interactions with police are nowhere near as violent and confrontational. A white man literally was caught on tape beating up two officers who were trying to arrest him, and nobody pulled out a gun, a baton or anything. At the most, he was hit with a taser:
And white folks seem to know or are starting to learn that the way they look and perceived (while black folks are always classified as a threat, dangerous or “demon”) plays into how they are dealt with by law enforcement, and some are even appalled by it. Last night the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite was trending and various white people decided to share their own experiences with the police, which displayed white privilege at its finest. And whether people appreciated the attempt made to show the racial disparity in how cops treat us and saw it as white people finally owning up to the realities of white privilege and speaking against it, or felt that it was a form of bragging that wouldn’t help or lead to change, it was definitely eye-opening, and at times, appalling to hear some of these accounts. Here are 10 that definitely stuck out: